Protecting wildlife is a necessary means in South Africa, where many reserves and protected plains have been opened. Wildlife can roam the plains freely without threat of poachers, but volunteers are needed to make sure these reserves are kept up and running at full capacity.
The reserve is a convenient 2.5 hour drive from Johannesburg and is filled with a rich cultural legacy and immense natural splendor. Boasting the Big 5 African animals (lion, elephants, black/white rhinos, leopards, and cape buffalo) as well as many other rare species such as the hyena, aardvark, pangolin, and aardwolf — every day is something new. Explore the cheetah-roaming grasslands and savannahs to leafy wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines. Historically, the reserve has never allowed hunting and limits the number of guests on the reserve at one time ensuring minimal human contact and the best experience of wilderness for the animals. You can also see a piece of history in the form of Bushman rock art — some of the earliest art forms known to humankind.
Volunteers are needed for this essential conservation project. You will be directly involved with the researchers overseeing the project and report to them each day. Get ready to be active! You’ll be out on the reserve assisting with daily activities and any exciting occurrences that may arise — such as animal interventions.
Every day is a new adventure. Here is a taste of some of the experiences you may have as a volunteer:
- Animal release and relocation
- Assisting with research projects
- Participation in daily running of the conservation areas (e.g. anti-poaching)
- Be the eyes and ears of the reserve (monitoring)
- Feeding animals in the winter months
- Daily monitoring of newly released animals in the wild
- Alien plant and erosion control
- Monitoring of vegetation
- Exposure to highly qualified and dedicated conservationists
- Legendary braais (barbeques) in the bush and stargazing
Volunteers (in addition to the staff) will patrol the reserve and obtain visual sightings of the rhinos as well as record their movements to produce accurate range maps. Teams will also maintain a presence in and around the area where the rhinos are travelling. In addition to that, volunteers will also be monitoring local elephant populations in order to better understand their impact on the reserve.
Volunteers will also help with buffalo habituation - allowing better management of the disease-free herd.
For reserve management, volunteers will participate in a number of duties as necessary. This may include tasks such as bush clearing, checking water holes, capturing game, patrolling fences and boundary maintenance. These duties are essential for protecting all living creatures on the reserve.
Note on program lengths: While this program is designed for a 2 week placement, there are longer programs available if you wish to volunteer more time! Extended placements for 4, 6, and 8 weeks can be arranged - just contact us for more details.